With spring break just around the corner, (9 days til cruise time!!) I can't help but think about where I was around this time 2 years ago.
I had the incredible opportunity to go on a humanitarian trip through SUU to Guaymas, Mexico. I went with one of my roommates and best friends, Rachel, along with 40 other students. It was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had and it is something I think about often. This trip impacted me in more ways I could have ever imagined was probably the happiest I have ever felt. I have over 500 pictures from this trip so it was hard to narrow it down haha, but I tried my best. This is basically how the week went:
We left SUU on a Friday and drove to Flagstaff, Arizona where we stayed that night. We woke up bring and early on Saturday and drove allllll day long to Guaymas where we finally arrived that evening. We unpacked our stuff and the trailor of supplies, ate dinner at this DELICIOUS taco stand next to our hotel, then immediately put on our swimsuits and hopped in the pool. It felt great after 2 long days of driving. We were privileged to be serenaded as we swam and sat by the pool.
Here are all of the girls in our group on our first Sunday there about to go to church. We found a ward to go to that was all Spanish speaking. We thought we were just a little late and walked into sacrament as they were singing what we thought was the opening hymn. Little did we know it was actually the closing hymn and we just felt ridiculous because here was this huge group of people that walked in super late. We ended up just staying and waiting there for an hour until the next meeting started. Although I couldn't understand a word of anything that was being said, it was amazing how I felt the spirit just as strong.
After church, we took around bags of clothing donations to the more poor areas of Guaymas. This was one of my favorite things that we did. The clothes we had to offer were by no means nice clothes or in great condition, but these people didn't care. They were so humble and grateful to receive anything at all. The look on their faces to receive a new pair of shoes or a new shirt was unforgettable. It really made my appreciate everything I have and made me realize how much I take for granted. These people had very little and yet were still so happy. What a great example that was for me.
Later that night we got to just hang out and have a bon fire on the beach. It was fun to get to know everyone better who we would be spending the next week with.
The next morning we woke up and all got into different service groups where we would spend the morning. My group spent the morning doing the shopping for the rest of the week and other groups did a variety of other things. We met back at the hotel for lunch where a little war broke out of pushing people in the pool... those of us in the picture were the victims. After lunch our groups went back out to different service sites and my group went and handed out the rest of the clothing donations that we had.
The next morning, people were waking up early to do a sunrise hike and I decided to hop on board. It was an early morning and quite a painful hike up the mountain since we sort of invented our trail through the harsh terrain, but it was so worth it when we got to the top!
After the hike, we ate breakfast then split into groups again heading to different service sites. My group went to where we were building the house. The foundation was still being worked on so some of us went to a house nearby and worked on painting and building shelves. Some of the boys in our group also built a ramp for a man in a wheelchair.
The second half of the day was spent simply going around to neighborhoods and asking people we saw if they needed help with anything. One family asked us to help trim their trees, one asked us to rake leaves, and one asked us to knock down and dispose of this big cement structure. When we were working on knocking down the cement structure, neighborhood kids saw us and came right over and started helping us. The little boys grabbed shovels and the girls formed as assembly line to help us move the rocks. They were such sweet kids and so anxious to help.
The next morning I went with a group to the soup kitchen. We met the owner named Chewey who was probably one of the coolest guys I have ever met. Such a hoot. We spent the morning cleaning, setting up, and preparing for the people to come.
We got done pretty early so then we met up with another group who was working at a school. We played games with the kids and tried to help teach them english.
After lunch, we all went to the orphanage together where we had an ice cream party and dance party for the kids. They don't adopt out of this orphanage because they believe the orphanage can give them a better life than they would receive if adopted. These kids were adorable and we could tell it meant the world to them to have us come spend time with them.
We were a little behind on the house we were building because last minute before the trip the majority of the construction crew backed out of coming. So we spent the majority of the day working on the house. Unfortunately we didn't finish, but the man that was in charge went back a few weeks later and finished it. It was a long, hot day so as soon we got back to the hotel, Rach and I didn't even bother changing we just jumped right in the pool fully clothed.
Our last full day there was pretty low key. We went to the market and to the beach and just kind of hung out. It was bittersweet knowing this was my last full day in Mexico being with all this amazing people who I became very close with and serving the amazing people of Mexico.
Then the day arrived where we had to go home. Right before we crossed the border, we stopped at a taco stand to get our last taste of authentic Mexican mood. (Which, by the way, I think I like Americanized Mexican food better). Then we drove all day to the same hotel in Arizona we stayed at before, and arrived back in Cedar City the next afternoon.
Well there's Mexico for ya! Sorry this was such a long post, but I had just been looking through all the pictures and had been thinking a lot about this trip lately and felt the need to blog about it. I miss it every day. The people in Mexico were so kind with such sweet spirits. I went with the mindset of serving and doing so much for these people when in reality, they did so much more for me than I ever did for them. I couldn't be happier with the group I went with. I was able to go with one of my best friends and I also met some people I don't know if I would have met otherwise who I made lifelong friendships with. I am so grateful I was able to have this opportunity and hope to go back to Guaymas one day.